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Basic Rock Properties


Absolute permeability

Effective and Relative permeability

Capillary pressure

Rock compressibility

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Rocks that make up hydrocarbon reservoirs
are both porous and permeable.
Porosity is a measure of storage capacity of the rock; i.e., it
determines the quantity of hydrocarbon stored between the
rock grains
Permeability is a measure of a rocks ability to transmit
hydrocarbons (or fluids in general); i.e., it determines how
easily the hydrocarbons will flow through the rock.

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Requirements for a Hydrocarbon


A source: material from which hydrocarbon is formed: carbon

and hydrogen, the remains of land and sea life that was buried
in the mud and silt of ancient seas or bodies of water.
Porous and permeable beds in which hydrocarbons may
migrate and accumulate after being formed.
A trap: subsurface condition restricting further movement of
hydrocarbons such that it may accumulate in commercial

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Consider a rock sample of any shape.

Vt or Vb denotes the total or bulk volume of sample, (L3).
Vp denotes volume of hollow space (pore volume) between the
solid grains of rock, (L3).
Vg denotes the total volume of the solid rock grains, (L3).
Vb = Vp + Vg
Porosity is defined as the ratio of the pore volume to the total
volume, i.e.,
Phi = Vb-Vg/Vb = Vp/Vb
Note: Phi is dimensionless and 0 less than equal to Phi less than
equal to 1.
Porosity is expressed as a decimal or a percent.

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Geologic Classification of Porosity

Primary porosity (intergranular): is the porosity formed at the

time the sediment was deposited. The voids contributing to this
type are the spaces between individual grains of the sediment.
Secondary porosity: is the void spaces formed after the
sediment was deposited. The magnitude, shape, size, and
interconnection of the voids bear no relation to the form of the
original sedimentary particles.
Secondary porosity has been subdivided into three classes
based on the mechanism of formation:
Solution porosity: voids formed by the solution of the
more soluble parts of the rock due to percolation of surface
and subsurface waters containing carbonic and other
organic acids. This is also called vugular porosity and the
individual holes are called vugs.
Fractures, fissures, and joints: are formed by structural
failure of the rock under loads caused by folding and
faulting. It is very difficult to evaluate quantitatively.
Porosity due dolomitization: is formed due the

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Important factors which affect

Important factors which affect porosity include the following:

Sorting or uniformity of grain size (well sorted means grains are

all of roughly uniform size)


Contribution of secondary porosity i.e., vugs or fractures

Type of packing and cementation.

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Relative Permeability

Since the reservoir pores are occupied by water as well as

hydrocarbons, the separate phases (oil, water and gas)
compete for channel space during flow.

If only one phase exists, flow is governed by absolute

permeability; multiple phase flow is governed by effective
permeability which equals absolute permeability times
relative permeability.

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